NY Medical Marijuana Laws: Top 11 FAQs


Medical marijuana laws are still relatively new territory for everyone. The state of New York is amongst the most strict of those that allow medical marijuana. 

It’s essential to fully understand what those laws entail before embarking on your journey of reducing the burden of your condition’s symptoms.

We’ve compiled our most frequently asked questions about NY Medical Marijuana Laws. Of course, if you’re interested in getting started on obtaining a medical marijuana card and have additional questions, we’re happy to assist.

Let’s dive into some of the questions, starting with the basics.

1 – Is Marijuana Legal in New York?

While recreational marijuana remains illegal in most states, NY Medical Marijuana laws allow you to apply for a medical marijuana card if you have a qualifying medical condition. 

The state determines which conditions qualify, and a certified marijuana physician must confirm patients’ eligibility.

2 – What Medical Conditions Make Me Eligible for a NY Medical Marijuana Card?

The medical eligibilities vary by state, and in New York, the list is narrowed down to twelve main conditions. 

The conditions that qualify in New York are:

  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Chronic Pain
  • Epilepsy/Seizures
  • Huntington Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • PTSD
  • Spinal Cord Injury with Spasticity
  • Substance Abuse

These are the most common conditions. Others may eventually qualify, so you can check with a certified physician to determine your particular eligibility by contacting a reputable medical marijuana team.

3 – How Do I Find a Certified Marijuana Physician To Get Started?

In order to recommend marijuana for medicinal use, your physician must first be registered with the New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana program. 

THC Physicians is proud to be a registered practitioner. You can get started with your medical marijuana appointment here. New York even allows virtual visits, so it’s a very straightforward and simplistic process.

4 – Will My Health Insurance Cover Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is an excellent treatment option for various symptoms of diseases, and a physician recommends usage. These points may seem like your health insurance should cover it. But at the current time, insurance does not cover medical marijuana. 

One of the main reasons it is not covered by insurance is that while the herb is known to reduce symptoms, especially pain, it has not been approved by the FDA to be used medicinally. Insurance companies can not cover a drug that is not FDA approved, regardless of its ability to do the job.

One might argue that since the legality of using marijuana for medicinal purposes is still relatively new in the nation’s grand scheme, the FDA has a little catching up to do in genuinely understanding its value.

5 – Can You Smoke Medical Marijuana in New York?

In New York, the smoking of medical cannabis is not an approved method of consumption (with the exception of vaping). 

Following section 1004.18 of the New York State Department of Health Regulations, a patient is also forbidden to consume medical marijuana in any public place, as defined by the Commissioner.

6 – What Forms of Marijuana Are Allowed With a NY Medical Marijuana Card?

Currently, the NY Department of Health limits all medical cannabis use in the state to non-smokable forms. Legal forms include:

  • Capsules
  • Vaping Products
  • Oils
  • Sprays
  • Lozenges, Chewables, and Effervescent Tablets
  • Topicals (cannabis-infused lotions and ointments)
  • Oral and Sublingual Liquids

The lozenges and chewables are the only exceptions to edibles, which are currently prohibited. However, a new bill was introduced in the hopes of allowing patients to consume cannabis flower and edibles. The bill is still in committee.

7 – Where Do I Find Medical Marijuana Dispensaries?

Dispensaries must be registered with the state of New York as a medical cannabis dispensing facility. Patients should bring their ID cards and certifications to the registered organization to purchase. Some locations even offer home delivery. 

For a search of registered dispensing organizations in New York, click here.

8 – How Much Marijuana Can I Get At One Time?

Your approved marijuana physician will recommend the dosage and administration forms of medical cannabis, as well as any limitations for use. A recommended dosage is not necessarily required, but they will include it on your certification if one was provided.

It’s essential to understand the different strains of marijuana and follow the recommendations of your certified physician.

Registered patients may then only possess up to a 30-day supply of a product at one time. 

It’s important to note that you must always carry your medical marijuana ID card when possessing any cannabis form.

9 – Can I Grow My Own Marijuana?

“Home Grows” are illegal under US Federal law; however, the law governing many marijuana regulations often falls under state jurisdictions. In fact, 99% of marijuana arrests are made under state law.

In the state of New York, it is illegal to grow your own cannabis at home, whether for medicinal or recreational use, with or without a medical marijuana card.

Obtaining your medical marijuana is limited to approved and registered dispensaries.

10 – Does NY Accept Out of State Medical Marijuana Cards?

Some states do accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards, but New York is not one of them.

However, it is possible to use your NY issued medical marijuana card in other states. 

Related: Medical Marijuana Reciprocity: Using Your Medical Card in Another State

Please note: you should always check with each state’s laws, as they are continually changing, and each has its own rules and stipulations for accepting out-of-state cards. 

In addition, each dispensary can set their own criteria and accept or deny patients from out of state. The following states and territories are generally accepting:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.

11 – How Do I Get a Medical Marijuana Card in NY?

Starting the process of obtaining your medical marijuana card in NY is quite simple and straightforward. You can start here to see if you qualify.

You’ll then be set up with a certified physician, either in-person or virtually. From there, we will discuss your health, ailments, and medical needs. Once you are deemed qualified, we will make a recommendation that you receive a medical marijuana card.

Once you receive this recommendation, you will be able to apply for a card with the state. Upon approval, you’ll be free to purchase your recommended amount of medical marijuana.

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